To outsiders, Las Vegas might seem like a place where almost anything is permissible, but in reality it’s just like any city in that it has laws you need to follow and etiquette to keep in mind.
Its gambling laws are particularly important to get your head around, so if you are planning a trip to the casinos of Vegas, here are the main rules you need to know.
The minimum legal gambling age is higher than other states
The first misconception is that Las Vegas’ liberal attitude to gambling makes it more lenient than other US states in terms of how old you have to be in order to legally participate in wagers and games of chance.
So what is the gambling age in Vegas? The minimum is 21, which is different to places like Washington and Oklahoma where you only need to be 18 to place bets.
Of course just because you have to be 21 to gamble in Vegas, that doesn’t mean casinos are completely off limits for those under this age. Indeed the opposite is true, as there are many attractions aimed at younger audiences so that kids and teenagers aren’t left out on a family vacation to Sin City.
From the roller coaster of New York, New York to the wildlife habitat at the Flamingo, there is tons to see and do even if you aren’t yet old enough to spin the reels or play a hand of poker.
Gambling wins are subject to tax
If you hit a jackpot at a Vegas casino, you can’t just scoop up your winnings and stroll out to spend them on your new life of luxury. This is because Nevada imposes federal income tax on money earned at casinos, so long as it exceeds the threshold of $1200.
So while you won’t have to pay any tax if you win ten bucks, if you get especially lucky, the casino will issue you with the paperwork necessary to submit to the IRS as part of your filing process.
The taxable rate sits at a flat 30 percent or so, although this may be subject to change, so do check up on this before you visit, or indeed after you win.
Certain types of online casinos are not yet legal
As you’d expect, Las Vegas does support online gambling, but only if it falls within a specific category; in this case sports betting or poker.
If you want to play other online casino games, like slots, then it’s not currently possible to do so using a site which is regulated or licensed in the state of Nevada itself.
This all comes down to the way that the casino industry operates, as land-based venues aren’t keen to give the green light to full-blown online casino experiences quite yet, because of fears that this will impact revenues from their bricks and mortar resorts.
Again, this state of affairs might change in years to come, but for the time being your best option for legal gambling in Las Vegas is at a physical casino.
Casinos have the right to refuse service
Finally, you should remember that just because Las Vegas is very much set up as a tourist-focused city, that doesn’t mean you can push its hospitality to the limit.
Casinos can stop serving customers at any time, and also ask them to leave the premises if they feel that they have a valid reason for doing so.
All of this is done to maintain a fun and friendly atmosphere for every guest, so try not to recreate the plot of The Hangover if you want to steer clear of encounters with casino security staff.